Contact Lists in Office 365

Have you ever wanted to send the same email out to a specific group of people? If it's a small group of people you can just enter all of their email addresses in your email. But if it is a large group of people entering all those email addresses is a chore. If you have to email these people more than once then it is a really big chore. You're thinking there must be an easier way to do this with today's modern technology. Well I'm going to tell you a way to do it using Outlook in Office 365.

In Outlook in Office 365 there are two ways to do this. One is to use a Group, which is a "powerful and productive platform that brings together conversations and calendar from Outlook, files from SharePoint, tasks from Planner, and a shared OneNote notebook into a single collaboration space." If you just want to send an email then using a Group is a little overkill. Don't get me wrong, it can be used to just send out emails. The second way, and much simpler I think, is to use a Contact List, which is just "a collection of email addresses."

So let me take you through the steps to create your very own contact list:

A. Log into your Outlook account
B. Go to the People page by either
     1. Click on the Office 365 app launcher icon, sometimes called the 'waffle' icon, in the upper left corner of the page

                       App_Launcher_Icon

     2. Click the "All apps" link
     3. Click the People icon

                   People_App_Icon
    or
     1. Click People button at the lower left corner of the page

                      People_Icon

C. Click on the down arrow next to "New"

New_Contact_List

D. Click on "Contact List"
E. Enter a name for your list
F. Start adding the email addresses of the people you want in your list
G. When you are done adding email addresses, click the Save button at the upper left corner of the page

That's it, easy right? Now the next time you want to email these people all you have to do is type the name of your list in the To field.

"Like" an email in Office 365

Thumbsup2Did you know that you can "Like" an email message in Office 365? Until a coworker commented on it recently, I hadn't even noticed this feature!

Why would you want to "Like" an email? 

Microsoft says,"Instead of typing a text email message to reply with your support for or satisfaction about an email you received, express yourself by clicking the Like button. You can also see who else likes an email message by hovering over the Like button." Another coworker shared that in his other job, staff uses this to express agreement rather than sending an email.

O365_like

You can find all the details about this feature here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/like-an-email-message-in-outlook-on-the-web-cfd919a9-7c3e-40ed-a6e6-aabd7d2d2acb

Brief guide to buttons that clear formatting

Noticing unwanted formatting differences in the text on your website, email, Excel, or Word document (where one line looks good, but another is a hair bigger or smaller)? Many times there is a little button intended to fix it! Just highlight/select the text in edit mode, click the button—voila, wonky formatting gone. Here's a guide to what to look for in some common tools:

Microsoft Word & Office 365 (same icon!)

Microsoft Word & Office 365 use an icon with a pink eraser scrubbing out an uppercase A

Excel (specialized format clearing options in a drop-down)

Excel's icon shows a pink eraser next to the word Clear, with a drop down menu

Gmail

Gmail's button looks like an italicized uppercase T with a small subscript x

Drupal websites - CKEditor toolbar

The CKEditor toolbar button used on many Drupal websites has a button with an italicized uppercase T with a small subscript x

 

Focused Inbox

A few months ago Microsoft implemented the Focused Inbox in the Office 365 Email, or Outlook on the Web.  Microsoft's secret algorithms decide which emails are the most important to you and directs them to the Focused Inbox.  The rest are directed to the "Other" portion of your Inbox.  Personally, I like the Focused Inbox.  It is doing a pretty good job of deciding what emails I actually read and displaying them in the Focused section.  I have had a few co-workers ask me how to turn this feature off.  They prefer to have a single Inbox, mostly because it means they don't have to switch back-and-forth between the two Inboxes.  You can also turn off this feature by following the instructions below.

  1. Click the Settings gear at the upper-right
  2. Click Mail beneath the "Your app settings" heading
  3. In the Layout section, click Focused Inbox
  4. Select Don't sort messages
  5. Click Save
Inbox Before
Before

 

Inbox After
After

It's also a good idea to train your Focused Inbox if you do keep it.  If you see mail going to the wrong Inbox, right-click the email and select (Always) move to Focused Inbox or (Always) move to Other Inbox.

O365 inbox rules

Recently we made some changes which resulted in my receiving dozens of emails every day about the status of daily scheduled tasks. It's great to be able to see the results contained in these messages if something goes wrong, but most of the time I don't need to look at them and wish they weren't cluttering up my inbox.

The solution?  Office 365 inbox rules.
Inbox Rules
You can create inbox rules in O365 to automatically perform specific actions (move, copy, delete, pin, mark, forward, redirect, send...) on messages as they arrive, based on criteria you determine. In my case, I created inbox rules to automatically dump these automated task emails into a specific folders where I could reference them if I needed.

Create a rule from a messageThere are 2 ways to create inbox rules--

  • through the Settings>Mail>Inbox and sweep rules menu where you can build inbox rules from the ground up
  • by creating a rule directly from a message

You may have to do some minor tweaking to get the rules set up exactly as you'd like, but they can be well worth the time you'll save managing your many messages.

Undo Send for Outlook on the Web

Microsoft added an Undo Send feature to Outlook on the Web back in January.  Those of you who use the SCLS-supported Office 365 mail can enable the Undo Send feature for up to 30 seconds by following these simple steps.

  1. Log into your Office 365 mail.
  2. Click the Settings gear button at the upper-right.
    Gear
  3. Click Mail at the bottom.
  4. Beneath the Automatic processing menu, click Undo send.
    Menu
  5. Select Let me cancel messages I've sent for and select a time period from the dropdown.
    Time
  6. Click Save.
  7. Click the back arrow to go back to your mailboxes.
    Options Arrow

You have now turned on the Undo Send feature.  How do you actually use it?

  1. After you have sent your email, click the Drafts folder.  All mail that you send will hang out in the Drafts folder for the amount of time you specified earlier.
  2. In the Drafts folder, select the email you want to stop from sending.  It is probably the top message.
  3. In the upper-right of the email, you will see a progress bar.  Click Undo.
    Undo Progress bar
  4. At this point, you can either edit your message and Send it again, or simply get rid of it by clicking Discard.
    Discard

Have a good weekend everyone!

Office 365 Contact Lists and Groups Explained

Within Office 365 there are two items found within the People section that I'd like to explain as they are a little confusing. The two items I'm talking about are "Contact lists" and "Groups".  The part that I've found confusing is knowing which one to use when you want to send an email out to a lot of people.  Both of these differ from a patron email list in the fact that an email from it shows that it came from the name of the patron email list and only the list administrators can send out emails to the list.  Whereas email from a "Contact list" or "Group" shows that it came from your personal email address and anyone can send out emails to the list by using Reply All.  So when you're emailing patrons it is best to use an email list.

So what is a "Contact list?"  
A "Contact list" (formerly called a distribution list) allows you to send an email message to all the email addresses in the list at once.  That way you don't need to enter every email address every time you need to send an email to the same group of people. The really important thing about a contact list is that it allows you to send emails to people that are not within your organization's Office 365.

So what is a "Group?"
A "Group" has the same features as a "Contact list" but the key difference is that it only allows you to send emails to people that are within your organization's Office 365.  The reason for this is that it was designed by Microsoft to be used for team collaboration within an organization.

I hope this clears up any confusion, but if not you can feel free to give me a call at the Help Desk.

Office 365 Email Clutter Feature Going Away

With my last Techbit in June, I was excited to talk about the Clutter feature in Office 365 Email.  I have just read an article announcing that the Clutter feature is being deprecated in favor of Emotion_focused-300px
the Focused Inbox.  Microsoft is discontinuing the feature because it interferes with users who have complex inbox filtering rules and business users are often seeking the help of their Email Admins to locate missing emails.  The Focused Inbox won't redirect email to a different folder like the Clutter feature.  Instead, it will offer a different view of your Inbox by showing you what Microsoft's algorithms believe are the emails most important to you.  The Focused Inbox could start appearing in your email as soon as September.

Office 365 Mail Clutter Feature

I had a few people ask me about the Clutter feature in Office 365 mail recently.  Clutter automatically filters out email that you normally ignore and stores it in the Clutter folder instead of the Inbox.  According to the Microsoft documentation, Clutter studies the following to learn your email reading behavior: 

  • The sender Messydesk-300px

  • Whether you participated in the conversation

  • If you’re the only recipient

  • Its importance

You can fine-tune the Clutter feature by right-clicking low-priority mail in your Inbox and selecting Move to Clutter.  You might notice mail in your Clutter folder that you would prefer to appear in your Inbox.  You can right-click this mail and select Move to Inbox.  Within my email, Office 365 has learned that I rarely read Announce emails dealing with Job Announcements and Giveaways.  Those emails automatically get moved to my Clutter folder.  On Sunday evenings I receive an email summarizing what the Clutter feature has been doing for me the past week.

To disable Clutter:

  1. Log into your Office 365 Email
  2. Click the Settings icon (the little gear at the upper-right)
  3. Click Mail at the bottom beneath My app settings
  4. Click Clutter at the left
  5. Uncheck Separate items identified as Clutter
  6. Click Save

Link preview in OWA

In Office 365's Outlook Web App, when you type an email and add a URL, OWA adds a preview that includes a link title, thumbnail, and description of the link. This is called Link Preview, and this feature is enabled by default.

Link Preview

I find myself almost always deleting this preview as soon as it's added, and realized I could probably save myself some unnecessary clicking by just turning the Link Preview feature off.

Turn off Link Preview

  1. On the Navigation bar, in the upper right corner, click Settings.
  2. In the Options pane, under Mail > Layout, click Link preview.
  3. Under Link preview, uncheck the Preview links in email box to turn it off.

If you later decide you made a mistake, just repeat the steps but check the box in step 3 instead.